MDOT Outlines Plans to Demolish Waldo-Hancock Bridge
For 81 years, it has linked Prospect and Verona Island.But this September, the Waldo-Hancock bridge will start being torn downIt’s a process that’s expected to take about nine months.Joy Hollowell takes us through the plans.=====”Basically the bridge will come down the same way it went up, but in the opposite type of orientation ” says Douglas Coombs, Assistant Project Manager for the Maine Department of Transportation. “The deck will be dropped down to waiting barges below. They’ll be cut apart and then dropped either from support cables using the bridge itself, or from cranes mounted on barges in the water.”After the deck is dismantled, the main support cables will come down. Then, it’s on to the two towers.”We will be supporting the main tower structures. We’re working with a consultant that has done several of these types of projects throughout the U.S. and basically all over the world,” says Coombs.Safety will be a top priority, according to Coombs, not only for workers, but also travelers on the bridge and below.”We are working with the Coast Guard on developing plans for all of the navigation traffic that’s going to be in the Penobscot during that time,” he explains.Some of the old landmark will remain, including the two cement water piers as well as the abutments. Plans are in place to put back the old bridge plaques as well as panels depicting what once was.The Waldo-Hancock bridge hasn’t been used since the Penobscot Narrows bridge opened at the end of 2006.As for why it took so long to get to this point, Coombs says it came down to finding $7,500,000 in the budget.”We were waiting for different fundings to come in for the project, and now the project is funded.”===Coombs says the state will start advertising for bids in mid-June. They expect work to start around September 1st and be completed by the middle of June 2013.Two 45-foot flag poles on top of each tower will be donated to the towns of Verona Island and Prospect and a portion of the bridge itself will be given to Bucksport to be used on the walking trail.Coombs says there are no major traffic problems anticipated during the bridge demolition. As for where all that scrap metal will end up, Coombs says it has not yet been determined.The total length of the Waldo-Hancock County bridge is 2,040 feet. The main portion of the bridge between the two towers spans 800 feet. It opened to the public in November of 1931, and closed in December of 2006.